We’re not sure that the market has been clamoring for a Lucid Air sedan even more powerful and expensive than the $169K 1,111-hp Dream Edition, so much as something that’s actually anywhere near affordable for the average driver, but it’s getting the former, anyway. Dressed as it’s named, the deep-blue Air Sapphire aims to be known as the world’s first “fully electric luxury super-sports sedan.” It combines Lucid’s roomy sedan architecture with a 1,200-hp triple-motor powertrain for a sub-2-second 0-60 and sub-4-second 0-100. It certainly won’t shift the pricing spectrum toward affordable, but it sounds like those who do buy it will find it money well spent.
“The Sapphire concept was born during the initial development phase of Lucid Air,” Lucid explains in its announcement. “As we looked across our product lineup, which already included vehicles pushing the limits of what an EV could do, we realized that we had assembled the engineering, design, and technical prowess to harness the potential of electric vehicles and build a line of focused, ultra-high-performance vehicles far beyond anything that existed.”
In other words, it stared at that 1,000-hp 235-mph prototype and decided that what it needed to do with all its vehicle tech and engineering know-how was pile on even more horsepower to benefit the exceptionally few who would ever actually afford it. Apparently, it didn’t think so hard about directing all that brainpower toward applying its 500-mile+ EV architecture to a car affordable enough to boost adoption and make a dent in emissions reductions. To each their own.
Whatever the case, the Sapphire launches not just as a performance flagship Air but an entire high-performance brand, Lucid’s answer to Tesla’s Plaid. Lucid starts with its very first three-motor layout, increasing drive capacity at the rear axle with a twin-drive unit. This layout introduces torque vectoring and its all-wheel drive and handling benefits. Up front, a single motor provides power.
The three motors combine for upwards of 1,200 hp, working with other Lucid technologies such as micro-jet stator cooling, wave winding and increased coolant flow to jump performance to new heights. Lucid promises a 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) sprint below the two-second benchmark that now separates the world’s quickest, most outrageous electric supercars from everything else. And if that’s not enough, the 0-100 mph (161 km/h) sprint can be done in an insane sub-four seconds. That’s faster than the 4.3 seconds the $2-million Rimac Nevera claims, foreshadowing a time in the not-so-distant future when we won’t even be talking about 0-60 mph but just jumping the spec list right to 0-100 mph.
The standing quarter-mile, for those wondering, comes in under nine seconds, according to Lucid’s estimates. Top speed will register north of 200 mph (322 km/h).
The Sapphire won’t be mere straight-line speed, either. Lucid takes a holistic development approach to its development, upgrading numerous running gear components and assistive technologies to work seamlessly with the boosted powertrain. It adds in carbon-ceramic brakes, stiffer front and rear springs, model-specific damper settings, stiffer bushings, and unique tuning for systems like the ABS, traction control and stability.
As far as range, Lucid says merely that the Sapphire will retain the type of class-leading battery autonomy the company has established with those Air sedans that slightly reside downmarket.
The Sapphire rides on ultra-high-performance Aero Sapphire wheels rolled up in specially developed Michelin PS4S tires that size 265/35R20 up front and 295/30R21 in back. Lucid widens the body by 0.8 in (21 mm) at the front and 0.9 in (24 mm) at the rear to keep those new shoes reined in. Aero-optimized removable carbon fiber wheel covers help improve efficiency and range.
If you’re worried all that performance comes at the expense of space, comfort or luxury, fret not.
“Because a three-motor Lucid Air was always part of the development program, it retains all the strengths of Lucid Air variants already on the market — including limo-like rear legroom, a voluminous trunk and frunk, and impressive efficiency,” promises Lucid product SVP and chief engineer Eric Bach.
The limited-edition Lucid Air Sapphire starts at US$249,000 or CA$325,000, and deliveries in both the US and Canada will begin next year. We’re guessing Lucid will fill out a few reservation forms while it’s at Monterey Car Week 2022, where it revealed the Sapphire. The aforementioned Rimac Nevera will also be making its North American debut at the event.
Source: Lucid Motors